Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Committee Chair(s)

Heidi Kratsch Kelly Kopp


Heidi Kratsch


Kelly Kopp


Yajun Wu


Michael Kuhns


Population growth in regions of the Intermountain West has resulted in rapid growth of residential neighborhoods. In Utah, the landscapes associated with these expanding neighborhoods consume vast quantities of treated water. This is a concern in all states of the Intermountain West, as water becomes increasingly scarce. Traditionally used turfgrasses, trees and other plants in Intermountain West landscapes require significant amounts of supplemental water considering the intense sunlight, dry winds and sparse rainfall typical of the region. Characterizing the interactions between turfgrass and tree species in these landscapes can aid in the identification of candidate species that consume less nutritional and water resources, while maintaining satisfactory appearance. A study was conducted investigating the nature of interactions between tree and turfgrass species in a constructed landscape of the Intermountain West. An experiment was performed investigating differences in rooting length and volume between combinations of two tree (Robinia pseudoacacia L., Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis L.) and three turfgrass [Poa pratensis L., Buchlöe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm., Festuca arundinacea Schreb.] species. A minirhizotron system was used to obtain root images at three times during the growing seasons of 2006 and 2007 at depths from 1-15 cm in each tree-turfgrass rooting zone. Images were analyzed to determine combined total volume, length, and surface area of turfgrass and tree roots. This research shows that root growth differences occur in turfgrass-tree combinations containing all three turfgrass species. Buffalograss best resisted possible root growth inhibition, regardless of tree combination. Further evidence shows that Robinia secondary growth is vulnerable to presence of turfgrass in proximity.